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Ranking the Ravens' five likeliest rookies to make an impact in 2020

Ranking the Ravens' five likeliest rookies to make an impact in 2020

The Ravens had, by nearly all accounts, one of the NFL’s best drafts in April. 

With their 10 picks, they addressed just about every need on the roster — edge rusher being the holdout — and got more talented at each position they needed to. 

And while the Ravens are hopeful all of their drafted players can fill a role next season, a few players like Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington have clear roles carved out as depth players for their rookie season, and safety Geno Stone appears destined for a special teams role to start his career. 

Here are the five Ravens’ rookies that can make an immediate impact in 2020:

1. Patrick Queen

The first one is as obvious can be. 

Not only is Queen the team’s first round draft pick, but he also likely filled the biggest need on the team and will join the Ravens and immediately be handed a starting role. 

Queen made 85 tackles for the national champion LSU Tigers last season and, at just 20-years-old, was one of the draft’s top risers last season at LSU.

He’s perhaps the most talented player of the Ravens’ 2020 draft class and with a starting role so clearly carved out for him, the room for strong production is right there.

2. Devin Duvernay

Duvernay will join a Ravens receiving corps in need of a second wide receiver to prove himself. With Mark Andrews at tight end and Marquise Brown as the team’s two clear top options in the receiving game, there is still an opening for a third option to emerge from the group. The speedster from Texas could be it. 

With 4.39 40-yard dash speed, Duvernay will immediately be one of the fastest players not only on the offense, but on the team. He posted 106 catches last season for 1,386 yards at Texas, but his toughness was what stood out to the Ravens. 

If he’s able to prove his worth early on, he could find himself as the team’s third option in the receiving game.

3. James Proche

This might seem out of sorts for Proche to be on this list so high, but hold up. 

Yes, he was the second-to-last pick of the Ravens’ draft. Yes, he’s just a rookie and draft capital matters in terms of who gets a look, and how much they do.

But Proche is also likely going to be the team’s punt and perhaps kick returner to start the season. There’s not a rookie on this list, besides Queen, who is in better shape to have some kind of starting role so quickly. 

Add into the debate that Proche is joining the same depth chart as Duvernay, and it’s clear there’s a path for the sure-handed receiver to find his way onto the field sooner than some may think.

4. J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins has perhaps the highest ceiling on this list, and the floor is higher than perhaps anyone but Queen for his rookie year. The problem is, the ceiling involves some exceptions. 

He’ll join a crowded backfield with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, not to mention that his new quarterback is the league’s best running quarterback as well. 

Dobbins might end up having the greatest long-term impact on this list, but the odds of him taking on a major role in the offense — while he’s essentially guaranteed at least some kind of role in 2020 — would require him stepping up as the clear No. 1 running back, or a host of injuries. 

5. Ben Bredeson

Bredeson might make the quietest impact of anyone on this list, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to make the biggest. 

In a logjam to replace Marshal Yanda’s right guard spot, Bredeson figures to be the likeliest rookie to take over the position. If he’s able to, he’ll certainly have earned it.

The rookie started all four seasons at Michigan and certainly has the experience in big time games to step in and contribute immediately.

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Ravens' Matt Judon jokingly asks 'how's the real estate' in Kansas City after seeing Chris Jones' lucrative deal

Ravens' Matt Judon jokingly asks 'how's the real estate' in Kansas City after seeing Chris Jones' lucrative deal

Over the past two weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have carved out two lucrative contracts. Last week, QB Patrick Mahomes signed a record $503 million deal, and on Tuesday, defensive end Chris Jones agreed to an extension with a maximum value of $85 million.

As Kansas City has taken care of its stars with nice paydays, Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon has taken notice. After seeing reports of Jones' deal, Judon sent Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu a tweet, jokingly asking "how's the real estate" in Kansas City.

Mathieu, who Kansas City signed to a three-year, $42 million deal last offseason, responded saying it's a "nice bang for ya buck."

The tweet, for all intents and purposes, was likely a joke, but there was some hidden meaning behind it. Judon, who will play the 2020 season for Baltimore under the franchise tag unless the two sides are able to agree to a long-term deal by Wednesday, has stated multiple times he believes he's earned a lucrative pay-day.

Additionally, Baltimore tagged Judon as an outside linebacker rather than a defensive end, despite him playing the majority of his snaps at DE. With this distinction, Judon was expected to earn nearly $2 million less in 2020 than had he been designated as a defensive end.

But, after hearing Judon's concerns, Baltimore decided to ante up and pay the 28-year-old a salary of $16.8 million, a number right in the middle of the two positions' franchise tender salaries.

In a Zoom conference in June, Judon said he's "blessed" to be playing under the tag.

“I’m blessed, regardless,” Judon said. “If I play under the franchise tag, or if we come to a long-term deal, I’m going to be happy regardless."

RELATED: HOW EFFECTIVE OF A SEASON CAN JUDON HAVE?

Plus, Baltimore fans shouldn't worry. Even if Judon wanted to play in Kansas City, it's unlikely the team would be able to afford him.

In addition to Jones' lucrative deal, Kansas City just signed Frank Clark to a five-year, $104 million deal last offseason. Add in Mahomes' record deal, as well as likely future extensions for stars Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs likely don't have the money to pay Judon what he feels he deserves.

If Judon builds off his solid 2019 campaign, he'll have plenty of leverage with Baltimore come contract negotiations next spring.

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Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Madden 21 released a few ratings of top players in this year’s game, and to no one’s surprise, Lamar Jackson is perhaps the game’s most fun player.

Jackson is the game’s fastest quarterback with a 96 speed rating, paired with a 95 overall throw on the run rating, as well as a 94 rating for throwing under pressure. His throw power is 10th in the game at 92 overall.

RELATED: WHERE DOES LAMAR JACKSON RANK IN MADDEN 21 QB RATINGS?

But Jackson did take a little exception to his overall rating, which is a 94 -- good for the third best quarterback in the game behind Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

“I wish it was better,” Jackson said Monday evening on SportsCenter. “But hey, it’s better than it was last year. I guess we can roll with it till the season starts.”

Jackson, the cover athlete for this year’s game, started last year’s game at just a 76 overall.

Jackson wishes his rating was a little better this year due to his improvement from his rookie season to his second year in the league.

“I just think I did better than last year,” Jackson said. “I did a lot more than people expected, and our team did.”

As for what Jackson guessed his rating would be before the big reveal?

“At least 96, 97 probably,” Jackson had said.

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